Tag Archives: African Championships

TEAM SELECTION CRITERIA: IAAF CONTINENTAL CUP OSTRAVA 2018

Teams are beginning to take shape for the IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 with the start of the two-day competition, set for 8-9 September in the eastern Czech city, now just 30 days away.

While the final entries are still to be confirmed by the Confederation of African Athletics (CAA), the team for Africa will largely be based upon the finishes at the 21st African Championships which concluded in Asaba, Nigeria, on Sunday (5).

Several freshly-minted continental champions, including 100 and 200m winner Josee Marie Ta Lou of Ivory Coast, 400 and 800m winner Caster Semenya of South Africa and men’s 800m champion Nijel Amos of Botswana, are expected to compete.

For Team Europe, the defending Continental Cup champions, selection will be primarily based upon the results at the European Championships that are taking place this week at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. Women’s 100m champion Dina Asher-Smith of Great Britain has already confirmed that she’ll accept the team spot, setting up an intriguing duel with Ta Lou as the pair share the 2018 world lead at 10.85.

Composition of the Asia-Pacific and Americas teams will be based upon athletes’ positions on the 2018 performance lists.

Each team will enter two athletes for each individual event and one team for each relay (maximum six athletes). Unlike the 2014 edition, there are no limits on the number of athletes entered from any one country. Additionally, at least three athletes from the host country shall form part of their continental team. Each team may also enter up to a maximum of three overall reserve athletes. The deadline for final entries in 29 August.

Additional information about scoring, lane draws and competing order can be downloaded here.

This year marks the third edition of the IAAF Continental Cup, the successor to ten editions of the IAAF World Cup in Athletics whose inaugural edition took place in Dusseldorf from 2-4 September 1977.

The IAAF Continental Cup Ostrava 2018 will be the largest sporting event hosted by the Czech Republic this year.

Semenya heads strong Birmingham 1500m field

Triple world and double Olympic 800m champion Caster Semenya has been confirmed as the next headline star due to compete at next month’s Müller Grand Prix Birmingham IAAF Diamond League fixture on Saturday 18 August.

Serving as her first ever race in Birmingham, the South African star will compete over 1500m at the Alexander Stadium, eager to build upon her UK successes following her triumphs at the London 2012 Olympics and last summer’s IAAF World Championships.

“It has been such an amazing 12 months for me and I cannot wait to continue it by competing back in the UK again and in Birmingham for the first time ever,” Semenya said. She may be targeting her own South African record time of 3:59.92 she set at the Diamond League opener in Doha in early May.

The 27-year-old is expected to emerge as one of the biggest stars at the African Championships which begin today in Asaba, Nigeria, where she’ll compete in at least three events and possibly four if the amended schedule will allow.

Among those joining Semenya in the Birmingham race is five-time world championship medallist Sifan Hassan of The Netherlands. Hassan impressively won the inaugural Millicent Fawcett mile in London less than two weeks ago in a time of 4:14.71, the fourth quickest women’s mile time in history, and is sure to relish returning to Birmingham having set Dutch records on her previous two outings in the city.

Also set to be present is Ethiopia’s Gudaf Tsegay, an athlete who carries extraordinary range with sub-2:00, sub-4:00 and sub-15:00 minute personal best times for 800m, 1500m and 5000m respectively, while world championship finalists Winny Chebet of Kenya, and Laura Weightman and Sarah McDonald of Breat Britain will also be in the hunt.

Emmanuel Korir shifts focus to Africa Championships

Kenya’s Emmanuel Korir performance in London has left many fans dreaming of how fast he can run, but the 23-year-old says this week’s African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria, will be a major test.

The Kenyan excelled at the London Diamond League a week ago clocking a time of 1:42:05 in the men’s 800m, which stands out as the fastest in the world since 2012 and puts him sixth on the world all-time list, a front-running exhibition reminiscent of David Rudisha’s world record, Olympic gold medal-winning run on the same track five years earlier.

“I accosted Nijel Amos to see if he could run at the front to maybe like 600 meters, but he was telling me that he wasn’t feeling good,” explains Korir.

Amos had run 1:42:14 in Monaco in early July. “So I had to take a risk. I was feeling like maybe I could lose the race, but I thought, ‘no, let’s try it: I’m going to hold it’. And that is how it happened.”

Now his focus is on the Africa championships, which starts on Wednesday in Asaba, Nigeria. “Heats, semis and finals, it will not be easy,” says Korir, pondering a rematch with Botswana’s Nijel Amos. “1:42 is not satisfying. If I get some guys who are strong and can push me all the way to the finish line, it will be crazy.” Korir won the Kenyan title at the 400m distance.

Korir built a reputation on the U.S. collegiate circuit, where he went on an unbeaten run that lasted a year and included a world indoor best of 1:14:47 over 600m, and indoor and outdoor NCAA titles. That streak didn’t stop away from U.S. shores.

First he won the Kenyan trials, beating the likes of 2016 IAAF Diamond League champion Ferguson Rotich, to confirm his spot at the World Championships. Then, on his IAAF Diamond League debut, he destroyed a world-class field by more than a second in Monaco sizzling to a 1:43.10, the fastest time of 2017.

But the rounds in London proved to be too difficult. Although he won his heat, in the next day’s semis he came in fourth.

His undefeated season and World Championships campaign were wrecked. Talking from massage table 11 months on from that ignominy, his feelings couldn’t be more different. “Last year, when I was in London, I was so disappointed. But right now? I think I like it,” Korir recalls.

xinhuanet.com

World record holder Chepkoech set Sights on next target

For most spectators in Friday’s steamy and spectacular IAAF Diamond Leaguemeeting in the Stade Louis II, Beatrice Chepkoech’s 3000m steeplechase world record looked on with about three laps to go. As far as Chepkoech was concerned, however, it was on from the moment the gun went…

What became clear soon after she had taken an extraordinary margin of eight seconds off the world record mark of 8:52.78 in running 8:44.32 was how little of a surprise the achievement was to this 27-year-old Kenyan – albeit that even she had not anticipated running quite as fast.

“I wanted to break the world record; that was the plan from beginning of the season,” she said. “And I was aware the biggest chance will be in Monaco due to weather, crowds and the whole environment. And this plan worked well.

“I was thinking maybe I can break 8:50 but not at all was I dreaming about 8:44. And this time still could be improved I’m sure.”

After pacemaker Caroline Tuigong, the 2006 world U20 champion, had led to the 1000-metre mark in 2:55.23 before veering off, Chepkoech pushed on relentlessly, running her next two laps in 68.6 and 70.5.

When she reached 2000 metres in 5:49.81, looking smooth and untroubled, something special was clearly on.

Chepkoech slowed on the penultimate lap, running 71.4, before accelerating to embrace her historic moment with a final lap which the meeting organisers gave at 66.8.

“On my last lap I watched the time and I knew that I was going to break the world record and that was what I wished for,” she told the IAAF.

“It is great feeling I brought back to Kenya the women’s steeplechase record, I’m very proud of it. And that after six years of running and three years with steeplechase.”

According to Kenyan news sources, the question of whether Chepkoech would be running the steeplechase this season was something of an issue following the debacle at last year’s IAAF World Championships. She put paid to her excellent chance of winning the title when she missed a water jump and had to double back and put it right before finishing fourth in a race that ended with unexpected success for the United States as Emma Coburn and Courtney Frerichs won respective gold and silver.

“Of course I was angry,” she said as she reflected on her gaffe on Friday. “But that did not stop me from continuing to believe in myself, on the contrary.”

Nevertheless, it seemed that some others were not convinced. It was reported that she had been obliged to run the 1500m rather than the 3000m steeplechase at this year’s Commonwealth Games – where she took silver in 4:03.09 behind South Africa’s Caster Semenya – and has since wanted to prove a point by running a “strong PB”.

But there is no doubt that Chepkoech is an unusually adaptable athlete in terms of events. She began as a road runner, switching to the track in 2015, when she set a 1500m personal best of 4:03.28 and earned a bronze medal at the African Games.

She finished that season with a run in the 2000m steeplechase at the ISTAF Berlin meeting and made a successful transition to the full-distance event the following year, finishing fourth and second respectively at the Eugene and Stockholm IAAF Diamond League meetings before missing out on an Olympic medal by one place.

Chepkoech, who runs for Kenya’s national police service, underlined her outstanding breadth of talent at last month’s service championships, where she retained her steeplechase title in 10:00.60 before winning the 1500m in 4:07.69 – beating the 2013 world champion Eunice Sum into second place – before completing a hat-trick of titles in the 400m hurdles, where she ran 60.70.

Coached by 2006 European 800m champion Bram Som and a training partner of world and Olympic 1500m champion Faith Kipyegon, Chepkoeche is now due to represent Kenya – this time back in the 3000m steeplechase – at the African Championships in Asaba, Nigeria from 1-5 August, along with the world U20 champion Celliphine Chespol, 10th in Monaco, and Fancy Cherono.

It was a measure of her superiority on the night that second-placed Frerichs broke Coburn’s US record of 9:02.58, finishing in 9:00.85 to become the sixth fastest woman of all time – and she was more than 16 seconds adrift of the Kenyan.

“That race was incredible!” said Frerichs. “Eight seconds under the world record – it’s such a huge step for the event, such a promotion.

“I’m so proud of this American record and what will keep us going is the nine minutes line and that’s what I’ll be aiming for. It feels amazing to be an American among all the Kenyans and I have to give so much credit to Emma for making this event what it is now in America. Who knows what’s coming next?”

On that subject, Chepkoech has already begun speculating: “Maybe my next target could be to run under 8.40.”